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Old 10-31-2019, 11:34 AM   #1
OldFatGuy
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I Simply Can't Believe it

Baseball has been the love of my life since my father introduced me to the game decades ago. It was he who took me to my first baseball game, and it was he who put bat and glove in hand and taught me to play. And it was he who took me to several Washington Senators baseball games over the years where I fell in love with both the game, and the Senators.

But loving the Senators could be difficult, as they always.... well.... sucked. The original Washington Senators left DC for "greener" pastures in Minneapolis, MN and became the Minnesota Twins after the 1960 season. Fortunately, we didn't miss a single season as in 1961 Washington was granted one of the expansion teams of that year and they became the "new" Washington Senators. But throughout the 60's they were always at the bottom or near the bottom of the American League standings, and a saying was made about them. "Washington, first in war, first in peace, last in the American League."

But I didn't care. It was "our" home team, and I loved them. I followed them religiously as my own "career" with the game moved forward. I'll never forget the year 1969 as Ted Williams became manager and the Senators put together a winning season!!! They weren't close to being in first, but it was their first ever winning season. I loved everything about them, the players, their uniforms, everything.

Then, as a teenager, something awful happened and it made me question my "manhood" (something teens do quite often I imagine). The Senators up and moved again to greener pastures, this time to Arlington, TX and became the Texas Rangers. And this time there would be no new team. The tears flowed like I was a child again. Huh? Over a baseball team? Crying over a baseball team moving?

Over 30 years passed in the darkness of my favorite sport not having a home team. I knew in my heart that I would never, EVER experience what it was like for your home team to win a championship in your favorite sport, and it left a bitter spot in me all those years.

Then, in 2005, something amazing happened. After Washington had been passed up in the 1978 expansion, the 1992 expansion, and the 1998 expansion and I was convinced it would never again have a team, Washington was this time the recipient of a team moving to "greener" pastures as the Montreal Expos moved from Montreal to Washington, DC and became the Washington Nationals. I did feel bad for the Expos fans though as I knew first hand the pain they were feeling.

But I had a home team again!!!!

And once again they sucked. Those first few years were lean years indeed, finishing last almost every year for the those first 6 years or so. "Washington, first in war, first in peace, last in the National League East" took root. But who's complaining?

But all of those last place finishes resulted in very high draft picks year after year and they made the best of them, and they began to get better. By 2012 the Nats won their first ever National League East Championship and made the playoffs! Where they were immediately booted in the first round. Over the next several years this became a theme, as they would play well in the regular season but couldn't win in the postseason. In fact, they were the only team of all of the 30 MLB teams to never have won a single post season series. My belief that I would never experience a championship was still firm.

Then 2019 happened. The Nationals came out of the regular season gates AWFUL, going 19-31 in their first 50 games (nearly a third of the season as the season is 162 games). 12 games under .500 and in 4th place. But they somehow turned that all around, going 74-38 the rest of the way, and making the playoffs yet again. And yet again, it looked as if they would be booted immediately as they trailed the Milwaukee Brewers by 2 going into the 8th inning of an elimination game and fought back and won.

This would be a theme for this team, as over the course of the month long post season, the Nats played in 5 elimination games (games that if they had lost would have ended their season). In all 5 of those games they trailed. And yet in all 5 they came back, culminating in Game 7 of the World Series tonight.

I couldn't believe the ups and downs, but when it got to the 9th inning tonight I was already so emotional I could barely contain myself. And when Daniel Hudson struck out the last batter and clinched the Washington Nationals first ever World Series Championship, oh how the tears flowed.

In fact they are still flowing. And I'm not questioning anything about my manhood or anything else. The emotions are so strong, and so raw, that I can't help it. The shock and surprise of this team, underdogs throughout, behind throughout, finally breaking through and winning. The sheer joy of my home team, YES, MY HOME TEAM, winning the ultimate prize in my favorite sport. And the over riding sadness that my father, who passed over 10 years ago, wasn't able to witness this and be a part of this with me. These emotions just aren't stopping, and you know what? I'm okay with that.

The Washington Nationals are World Series Champions.

MY Washington National are World Series Champions.

Let the tears flow.
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Last edited by OldFatGuy; 10-31-2019 at 11:35 AM.
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Old 10-31-2019, 11:58 AM   #2
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The above is why I say every team's fans should get to see their team win it all at least once in their lifetime. That's why I usually pull for the team that hasn't won it before. And why I take issue for any numbnut that thinks dynasties are good for sports.
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Old 10-31-2019, 12:34 PM   #3
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What a great essay, OFG. Delightful reading. The essence of why baseball is such a great sport and why Baseball (that is, MLB), is also still great despite what has happened to it in recent decades. The essence is there, regardless of all that, and your heartfelt words demonstrate it. Thanks for sharing your tears of joy.
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Old 10-31-2019, 01:46 PM   #4
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I'm tearing up just reading this.

Thanks for sharing.

I remember arriving at my mother's house in Michigan (having driven for 2 days from my home in Denver, Colorado) on November 2nd, 2016, just in time to watch the last few innings of game 7, just in time to sit with my aging mom and watch the Cubs finally, miraculously, win it all. Even though most everyone around us were Detroit Tigers fans, and indeed that was my team growing up and certainly the team of my father and his family, my maternal grandfather was a life-long loyalist of the Cubs. There is much that I inherited from my grandfather (his looks, for sure) but probably the greatest thing was his undying love of baseball. He passed away in June of 1998, having never seen his beloved Cubs win a championship. After that my grandmother, in a less detailed but no less faithful way, carried on the Cub fandom for him. Then she passed in June of 2014. Even before then, but especially since then, my Mom has grown stronger and stronger in her support of the Cubs. And to be able to share that moment with her, and for both of us to celebrate in remembrance of my grandfather, her father, Cletus Heibel, one of the finest gentlemen I have ever known, well, that was special and bittersweet and even cathartic.

Some will say, and I myself have said it when I thought a little perspective might be needed, that baseball is just a game. And that is true. But that just is a bit problematic. Games are important. And to the extent that this one brings people together, bridges generations, provides joy and fun and even instructive pain and suffering, to the extent that it can awaken the senses and heal the soul and bring cheers and laughter and even tears, well, that's a pretty beautiful thing. Just a game, sure, but what a grand game it is.

(And just a little post-script: my Mom and I were both pulling for the Nationals this year and were texting back and forth last night as they pulled off the improbable Game 7 victory. My Dad was rooting for the Astros, but I love him anyway.)
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Old 10-31-2019, 01:54 PM   #5
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I read once that the saying, "Washington: First in war, first in peace, and last in the American League" was first used around the time of WW1. Future generations of Senators hated it saying that "we always had the Browns and Athletics under us."
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Old 10-31-2019, 02:06 PM   #6
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As a Seattle sports fan I am mostly "long suffering" with the Mariners not having been to the World Series and the Sonics moving to Oklahoma City, but the Seahawks did win the Super Bowl in 2013 and I have high hopes for the Seattle NHL franchise, so it's not a total loss.
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Old 11-02-2019, 11:54 AM   #7
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Great story OldFatGuy! Thank you for sharing. I've been rooting for the Nats this postseason, given the O's and Mets were out

Enjoy!

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Old 11-02-2019, 04:41 PM   #8
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This is awesome and part of what I love so much about baseball. And the best part is they did it after losing their overpriced "superstar".

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Old 11-02-2019, 04:50 PM   #9
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You are a true fan

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cobra Mgr View Post
The above is why I say every team's fans should get to see their team win it all at least once in their lifetime. That's why I usually pull for the team that hasn't won it before. And why I take issue for any numbnut that thinks dynasties are good for sports.
Great post. You have a great baseball personality and you are a true fan.

Where I live in NY we have our baseball fans with the Mets (like me) and we have the usual fake fans who ride the Yankee bandwagon when they have a good team.

The Yankees do have many loyal good fans but they are all evil and going to hell one day.
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Old 11-02-2019, 04:58 PM   #10
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Crying in baseball

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cobra Mgr View Post
The above is why I say every team's fans should get to see their team win it all at least once in their lifetime. That's why I usually pull for the team that hasn't won it before. And why I take issue for any numbnut that thinks dynasties are good for sports.
Quote:
Originally Posted by BirdWatcher View Post
I'm tearing up just reading this.

Thanks for sharing.

I remember arriving at my mother's house in Michigan (having driven for 2 days from my home in Denver, Colorado) on November 2nd, 2016, just in time to watch the last few innings of game 7, just in time to sit with my aging mom and watch the Cubs finally, miraculously, win it all. Even though most everyone around us were Detroit Tigers fans, and indeed that was my team growing up and certainly the team of my father and his family, my maternal grandfather was a life-long loyalist of the Cubs. There is much that I inherited from my grandfather (his looks, for sure) but probably the greatest thing was his undying love of baseball. He passed away in June of 1998, having never seen his beloved Cubs win a championship. After that my grandmother, in a less detailed but no less faithful way, carried on the Cub fandom for him. Then she passed in June of 2014. Even before then, but especially since then, my Mom has grown stronger and stronger in her support of the Cubs. And to be able to share that moment with her, and for both of us to celebrate in remembrance of my grandfather, her father, Cletus Heibel, one of the finest gentlemen I have ever known, well, that was special and bittersweet and even cathartic.

Some will say, and I myself have said it when I thought a little perspective might be needed, that baseball is just a game. And that is true. But that just is a bit problematic. Games are important. And to the extent that this one brings people together, bridges generations, provides joy and fun and even instructive pain and suffering, to the extent that it can awaken the senses and heal the soul and bring cheers and laughter and even tears, well, that's a pretty beautiful thing. Just a game, sure, but what a grand game it is.

(And just a little post-script: my Mom and I were both pulling for the Nationals this year and were texting back and forth last night as they pulled off the improbable Game 7 victory. My Dad was rooting for the Astros, but I love him anyway.)
There is no crying or tearing up in baseball.....unless of course you are Freddie Patek or Wilmer Flores. Flores loved his team so much he didn't want to be traded. Patek wanted to beat those damn Yankees so much in the 1977 American league championship series but lost in the final game.
I can definitely relate to Patek because I wanted to cry when the Yankees beat the Mets in the world series.

Those damn Yankees and all their fans are pure evil....EVIL to the core!
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Old 11-02-2019, 05:04 PM   #11
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Mariners

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Originally Posted by monkeyman576 View Post
As a Seattle sports fan I am mostly "long suffering" with the Mariners not having been to the World Series and the Sonics moving to Oklahoma City, but the Seahawks did win the Super Bowl in 2013 and I have high hopes for the Seattle NHL franchise, so it's not a total loss.
I have been a Seahawk and Mets fan my entire life. I never realized the Mariners never one a World Series until after your post. I do remember that phenomenal season they had under Pinella in 2001. All of baseball managers learned from Pinella on how he handled a pitching staff. He was light years ahead of his time. Of course Seattle lost to the Yankees......it is hard to beat an organization where the players and fans sold their eternal soul to Satan.
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Old 11-03-2019, 05:37 PM   #12
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This is awesome and part of what I love so much about baseball. And the best part is they did it after losing their overpriced "superstar".
Come to think of it, the Nats winning the World Series a year after losing Bryce Harper to free agency reminded me a lot of Tennessee winning the NC in CFB the year after Peyton Manning graduated.
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